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VFF 2018: Dark River Review

Dark River 




Clio Barnard’s third feature Dark River continues her interest in rural northern England. Here we have Alice (Ruth Wilson) returning home for the first time in 15 years to claim the tenancy at her family farm following the death of her father. Alice returns to find her brother, who cared for their dying father and also has a claim to the tenancy.
The film sees the two enter a bitter dispute for the land but Alice is also confronting traumatic memories as she tries to restore the farm. The land itself is in no state to be a working farm and be profitable. The problems of the past have seeped into the property and are a daunting reminder of the past. Barnard weaves a dark story familial trauma and exploitation and tells it through a social realism lens that is often used by UK auteurs. She manages to catch a glimpse of the struggles from traumatic events through Alice’s performance.


-Troy at VFF 2018.

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